Posted 6th Sep 2016
Let your children's imaginations run wild, by making little landscapes from natural materials. The forest is a mysterious place. Many stories tell of the mythical creatures who live there, including fairies and dwarves. These stories inspire children to create pretty little gardens from bits and pieces they find on forest walks, which will perhaps attract a mythical creature or two...
1 Good haul: Keep your eyes open when walking through the forest in autumn for all kinds of materials that can be used to create a mini garden: nuts, rose hips, Chinese lanterns, pine cones, twigs, bark, stones and moss. Other useful materials such as string, raffia and other decorative elements can be found around the house.
2 Using a wooden box as the base, children can create a small work of art. They can also use plant pot stands, trays, fruit crates or even old drawers to hold their garden.
3 This garden forms a kind of miniature landscape in the round flowerpot stand. The pine cone is reminiscent of a tree trunk. A small fence made of twigs gives the whole garden an informal border.
4 To make the fence, press some damp loamy soil around the inside edge of the pot stand. The soil will keep the thin twigs in place once they have been pushed at short intervals into the earth.
5 Soft moss is especially suitable for covering the ground. The bright green colour looks appealing and creates a soft, comfortable floor for the fairies and trolls.
1 Try building a little cave using two large pieces of bark, creating a shelter for its magical inhabitants. Use small dolls and wooden figures from the toy box in the new garden to create a cute little scene.
2 A miniature patio has been created in this rectangular plant pot stand; a piece of bark is used for the table and small discs shaved off a branch form plates. The guests have already taken their places on the soft moss.
3 An elf sits outside his hut, made from two pieces of bark leaning against each other, and observes everything going on around him. These autumn treasures are transformed into natural doll houses, and children become young architects. Once the game is over, the little gardens can be carried in boxes or on trays into the shed or summerhouse, or laid on the patio. They can be brought out again on the next sunny day.
4 With its centrepiece of bright red berries, the soft green and the border of little sticks and beech nut shells on sand, this arrangement looks just like a painting. These small pieces of art are never finished, as the children can always alter and add to them.